Thorns win in home opener

Photo by Lexis Shull

In the blistering heat and 19,461 fans all decked out in red and black, the Portland Thorns lit their own spark against the Chicago Red Stars with a 3-0 win on Sunday for the first time in their newly renovated stadium at Providence Park.

Earlier in the season, Portland spent six straight games on the road, having come to a tie with the Red Stars back in April.

The Thorns only took nine shots throughout the game compared to the Red Stars’ 28, with a pass accuracy of merely 55% to the Red Star’s 70%. Despite the statistics, Portland’s tough defense and precise offense led to their incredible win against the Chicago Red Stars.

Forward Margaret Purce scored the first two goals for the Thorns within 4 minutes of each other at 27 and 31 minutes both assisted from forward Simone Charley.

In the 27th minute, Charley sent the ball into the center of the goal box to Purce who charged directly forward to score. The Red Stars’ goalkeeper slid directly under Purce in an attempt to snub the ball as Purce pushed the ball right, sailing over the goalkeeper like a hurdler before taking the shot into the undefended net.

Only 4 minutes later, Charley passed the ball from the left sideline directly to the goal box line where Purce shot left-footed and in air straight past the goalie, raising the score 2-0.

In the last 2 games Purce has scored 3 times, never having scored for the Portland Thorns before.

Marissa Everett, a former University of Oregon player, shot the final goal for the Thorns in the 85th minute, making it Everett’s first ever National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) career goal. Defender Meghan Klingenberg free-kicked left towards the opposing team’s goal and directly to Everett who took it to the chest before winding up and smashing it straight through the goalkeeper’s legs and right into open net. The crowd roared in response as Everett was greeted by her teammates in an excited embrace.

The final goal from Everett sealed the deal for the Thorns against Chicago, placing them second in league behind Washington Spirit and ahead of the Utah Royals. The Thorns will be playing their next match on June 21 against the Utah Royals at Providence Park.